1677 – Royal Commissioners John Berry and Francis Moryson come to Jamestown Virginia to conduct an inquiry into the rebellion led by Nathaniel Bacon. Bacon’s Rebellion can be attributed to a myriad of causes, all of which led to dissent in the Virginia colony. Economic problems, such as declining tobacco prices, growing commercial competition from Maryland and the Carolinas, an increasingly restricted English market, and the rising prices from English manufactured goods (mercantilism) caused problems for the Virginians. There were heavy English losses in the latest series of naval wars with the Dutch and, closer to home, there were many problems caused by weather. Hailstorms, floods, dry spells, and hurricanes rocked the colony all in the course of a year and had a damaging effect on the colonists. These difficulties encouraged the colonists to find a scapegoat against whom they could vent their frustrations and place the blame for their misfortunes. The colonists found their scapegoat in the form of the local Indians. The trouble began in July 1675 with a raid by the Doeg Indians on the plantation of Thomas Mathews, located in the Northern Neck section of Virginia near the Potomac River. Several of the Doegs were killed in the raid, which began in a dispute over the nonpayment of some items Mathews had apparently obtained from the tribe. The situation became critical when, in a retaliatory strike by the colonists, they attacked the wrong Indians, the Susquehanaugs, which caused large scale Indian raids to begin. To stave off future attacks and to bring the situation under control, Governor Berkeley ordered an investigation into the matter. He set up what was to be a disastrous meeting between the parties, which resulted in the murders of several tribal chiefs. Throughout the crisis, Berkeley continually pleaded for restraint from the colonists. Some, including Bacon, refused to listen. Nathaniel Bacon disregarded the Governor’s direct orders by seizing some friendly Appomattox Indians for “allegedly” stealing corn. Berkeley reprimanded him, which caused the disgruntled Virginians to wonder which man had taken the right action. It was here the battle lines were about to be drawn. Governor Sir William Berkeley, seventy when the crisis began, was a veteran of the English Civil Wars, a frontier Indian fighter, a King’s favorite in his first term as Governor in the 1640’s, and a playwright and scholar. His name and reputation as Governor of Virginia were well respected. Berkeley’s antagonist, young Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., was actually Berkeley’s cousin by marriage. Lady Berkeley, Frances Culpeper, was Bacon’s cousin. Bacon was a troublemaker and schemer whose father sent him to Virginia in the hope that he would mature. Although disdainful of labor, Bacon was intelligent and eloquent. Upon Bacon’s arrival, Berkeley treated his young cousin with respect and friendship, giving him both a substantial land grant and a seat on the council in 1675. A further problem was Berkeley’s attempt to find a compromise. Berkeley’s policy was to preserve the friendship and loyalty of the subject Indians while assuring the settlers that they were not hostile. To meet his first objective, the Governor relieved the local Indians of their powder and ammunition. To deal with the second objective, Berkeley called the “Long Assembly” in March 1676. Despite being judged corrupt, the assembly declared war on all “bad” Indians and set up a strong defensive zone around Virginia with a definite chain of command. The Indian wars which resulted from this directive led to the high taxes to pay the army and to the general discontent in the colony for having to shoulder that burden. The Long Assembly was accused of corruption because of its ruling regarding trade with the Indians. Not coincidentally, most of the favored traders were friends of Berkeley. Regular traders, some of whom had been trading independently with the local Indians for generations, were no longer allowed to trade individually. A government commission was established to monitor trading among those specially chosen and to make sure the Indians were not receiving any arms and ammunition. Bacon, one of the traders adversely affected by the Governor’s order, accused Berkeley publicly of playing favorites. Bacon was also resentful because Berkeley had denied him a commission as a leader in the local militia. Bacon became the elected “General” of a group of local volunteer Indian fighters, because he promised to bear the cost of the campaigns. After Bacon drove the Pamunkeys from their nearby lands in his first action, Berkeley exercised one of the few instances of control over the situation that he was to have, by riding to Bacon’s headquarters at Henrico with 300 “well armed” gentlemen. Upon Berkeley’s arrival, Bacon fled into the forest with 200 men in search of a place more to his liking for a meeting. Berkeley then issued two petitions declaring Bacon a rebel and pardoning Bacon’s men if they went home peacefully. Bacon would then be relieved of the council seat that he had won for his actions that year, but he was to be given a fair trial for his disobedience. Bacon did not, at this time, comply with the Governor’s orders. Instead he next attacked the camp of the friendly Occaneecheee Indians on the Roanoke River (the border between Virginia and North Carolina), and took their store of beaver pelts. In the face of a brewing catastrophe, Berkeley, to keep the peace, was willing to forget that Bacon was not authorized to take the law into his own hands. Berkeley agreed to pardon Bacon if he turned himself in, so he could be sent to England and tried before King Charles II. It was the House of Burgesses, however, who refused this alternative, insisting that Bacon must acknowledge his errors and beg the Governor’s forgiveness. Ironically, at the same time, Bacon was then elected to the Burgesses by supportive local land owners sympathetic to his Indian campaigns. Bacon, by virtue of this election, attended the landmark Assembly of June 1676. It was during this session that he was mistakenly credited with the political reforms that came from this meeting. The reforms were prompted by the population, cutting through all class lines. Most of the reform laws dealt with reconstructing the colony’s voting regulations, enabling freemen to vote, and limiting the number of years a person could hold certain offices in the colony. Most of these laws were already on the books for consideration well before Bacon was elected to the Burgesses. Bacon’s only cause was his campaign against the Indians. Upon his arrival for the June Assembly, Bacon was captured, taken before Berkeley and council and was made to apologize for his previous actions. Berkeley immediately pardonedBacon and allowed him to take his seat in the assembly. At this time, the council still had no idea how much support was growing in defense of Bacon. The full awareness of that support hit home when Bacon suddenly left the Burgesses in the midst of heated debate over Indian problems. He returned with his forces to surround the statehouse. Once again Bacon demanded his commission, but Berkeley called his bluff and demanded that Bacon shoot him. Bacon refused. Berkeley granted Bacon’s previous volunteer commission but Bacon refused it and demanded that he be made General of all forces against the Indians, which Berkeley emphatically refused and walked away. Tensions ran high as the screaming Bacon and his men surrounded the statehouse, threatening to shoot several onlooking Burgesses if Bacon was not given his commission. Finally after several agonizing moments, Berkeley gave in to Bacon’s demands for campaigns against the Indians without government interference. With Berkeley’s authority in shambles, Bacon’s brief tenure as leader of the rebellion began. Even in the midst of these unprecedented triumphs, however, Bacon was not without his mistakes. He allowed Berkeley to leave Jamestown in the aftermath of a surprise Indian attack on a nearby settlement. He also confiscated supplies from Gloucester and left them vulnerable to possible Indian attacks. Shortly after the immediate crisis subsided,Berkeley briefly retired to his home at Green Springs and washed his hands of the entire mess. Nathaniel Bacon dominated Jamestown from July through September 1676. During this time, Berkeley did come out of his lethargy and attempt a coup, but support for Bacon was still too strong and Berkeley was forced to flee to Accomack County on the Eastern Shore. Feeling that it would make his triumph complete, Bacon issued his “Declaration of the People” on July 30, 1676 which stated that Berkeley was corrupt, played favorites and protected the Indians for his own selfish purposes. Bacon also issued his oath which required the swearer to promise his loyalty to Bacon in any manner necessary (i.e., armed service, supplies, verbal support). Even this tight reign could not keep the tide from changing again. Bacon’s fleet was first and finally secretly infiltrated by Berkeley’s men and finally captured. This was to be the turning point in the conflict, because Berkeley was once again strong enough to retake Jamestown. Bacon then followed his sinking fortunes to Jamestown and saw it heavily fortified. He made several attempts at a siege, during which he kidnapped the wives of several of Berkeley’s biggest supporters, including Mrs. Nathaniel Bacon Sr., and placed them upon the ramparts of his siege fortifications while he dug his position. Infuriated, Bacon burned Jamestown to the ground on September 19, 1676. (He did save many valuable records in the statehouse.) By now his luck had clearly run out with this extreme measure and he began to have trouble controlling his men’s conduct as well as keeping his popular support. Few people responded to Bacon’s appeal to capture Berkeley who had since returned to the Eastern Shore for safety reasons. On October 26th, 1676, Bacon abruptly died of the “Bloodie Flux” and “Lousey Disease” (body lice). It is possible his soldiers burned his contaminated body because it was never found. (His death inspired this little ditty; Bacon is Dead I am sorry at my hart That lice and flux should take the hangman’s part”.) Shortly after Bacon’s death, Berkeley regained complete control and hung the major leaders of the rebellion. He also seized rebel property without the benefit of a trial. All in all, twenty-three persons were hanged for their part in the rebellion. Later after an investigating committee from England issued its report to King Charles II, Berkeley was relieved of the Governorship and returned to England where he died in July 1677.
1737 – Thomas Paine, political essayist, was born. He wrote “The Rights of Man” and “The Age of Reason.” Thomas Paine was born on the twenty-nineth of January 1737 at Thetford, Norfolk in England, as a son of a Quaker. After a short basic education, he started to work, at first for his father, later as an officer of the excise. During this occupation Thomas Paine was an unsuccesfull man, and was twice dismissed from his post. In 1774, he met Benjamin Franklin in London, who advised him to emigrate to America, giving him letters of recommandation. Paine landed at Philadelphia on November 30, 1774. Starting over as a publicist, he first published his African Slavery in America, in the spring of 1775, criticizing slavery in America as being unjust and inhumaine. At this time he also had become co-editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine On arriving in Philadelphia, Paine had sensed the rise of tension, and the spirit of rebellion, that had steadily mounted in the Colonies after the Boston Teaparty and when the fightings had started, in April 1775, with the battles of Lexington and Concord. In Paine’s view the Colonies had all the right to revolt against a government that imposed taxes on them but which did not give them the right of representation in the Parliament at Westminster. But he went even further: for him there was no reason for the Colonies to stay dependent on England. On January 10, 1776 Paine formulated his ideas on american independence in his pamphlet Common Sense. In his Common Sense, Paine states that sooner or later independence from England must come, because America had lost touch with the mother country. In his words, all the arguments for separation of England are based on nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments and common sense. Government was necessary evil that could only become safe when it was representative and altered by frequent elections. The function of government in society ought to be only regulating and therefore as simple as possible. Not suprisingly, but nevertheless remarkable was his call for a declaration of independence. Due to the many copies sold (500.000) Paine’s influence on the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776 is eminent. Another sign of his great influence is the number of loyalist reactions to Common Sense. During the War of Independence Paine volunteered in the Continental Army and started with the writing of his highly influencial sixteen American Crisis papers, which he published between 1776 and 1783. In 1777 he became Secretary of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in Congress, but already in 1779 he was forced to resign because he had disclosed secret information. In the following nine years he worked as a clerck at the Pennsylvania Assembly and published several of his writings. In 1787 Thomas Paine left for England, innitialy to raise funds for the building of a bridge he had designed, but after the outbreak of the French Revolution he became deeply involved in it. Between March 1791 and February 1792 he published numerous editions of his Rights of Man, in which he defended the French Revolution against the attacks by Edmund Burke, in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. But it was more then a defence of the French Revolution: An analysis of the roots of the discontent in Europe, which he laid in arbitrary government, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and war. The book being banned in England because it opposed to monarchy, Paine failed to be arrested because he was already on his way to France, having been ellected in the National Convention. Though a true republicanist, he was imprisoned in 1793 under Robespierre, because he had voted against the execution of the dethroned king Louis XVI. During his imprisonment the publication of his Age of Reason started. Age of Reason was written in praise of the achievements of the Age of Enlightment, and it was om this book that he was acussed of being an atheist. After his release he stayed in France until 1802, when he sailed back to America, after an invitation by Thomas Jefferson who had met him before when he was minister in Paris and who admirred him. Back in the United States he earned that he was seen as a great infidel, or simply forgotten for what he had done for America. He continued his critical writings, for instance against the Federalists and on religious superstition. After his death in New York City on June 8, 1809 the newspapers read: He had lived long, did some good and much harm, which time judged to be an unworthy epitaph.
1779 – Augusta, Georgia is captured by a British force led by Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell. In the autumn of 1778, General Prevost, who was in command of some British regulars, Tories and Indians, in East Florida, sent from St. Augustine two expeditions into Florida. One of these made an extensive raid, carrying off negro slaves, grain, horses, and horned cattle; destroying crops and burning the village of Midway; the other appeared before the fort at Sunbury, and demanded its surrender. Colonel Mackintosh, the commander of the garrison, said, “Come and take it,” when the invaders retreated. These incursions caused General Robert Howe to lead an expedition against St. Augustine. On the banks of the St. Mary’s River, a malarious disease swept away a quarter of his men. After a little skirmishing, he led the survivors back to Savannah, and these composed the handful of dispirited men who confronted Campbell at Brewton’s Hill. The expulsion of Howe from Savannah was soon followed by the arrival of Prevost, who came up from Florida, captured the fort at Sunbury on the way (January 9, 1779), and assumed the chief command of the British troops in the South. The combined forces of Prevost and Campbell numbered about three thousand men. In the meantime General Benjamin Lincoln of Massachusetts, appointed in September to the chief command of the patriot troops in the Southern States, had arrived in South Carolina, and on the 6th of January (1779), made his headquarters at Purysburg, twenty-five miles above Savannah. There he began the formation of an army to oppose the British invasion. It was composed of the remnants of Howe’s troops, some Continental regiments, and some raw recruits. Campbell, elated by his easy victory, began the work of subjugation with a strong hand. He promised protection to the inhabitants provided all their able-bodied men would “support the royal government with their arms.” They had the alternative to fight their own countrymen or fly to the interior uplands or into South Carolina. Howe’s captive troops, who refused to take up arms for the king, were thrust into loathsome prison-ships, where many perished with disease. It was evident that the war was to be waged without mercy, and this conviction gave strength to the determined patriots in the field, for they were fighting for their lives and the welfare of those whom they loved most dearly. Prevost sent Campbell up the Georgia side of the Savannah, to Augusta, with about two thousand men, for the purpose of encouraging the Tories, opening communication with the Creek Indians in the west, and subduing the Whigs into passiveness.
1820 – Ten years after mental illness forced him to retire from public life, King George III, the British king who lost the American colonies, dies at the age of 82. In 1760, 20-year-old George succeeded his grandfather, George II, as king of Great Britain and Ireland. Although he hoped to govern more directly than his predecessor had, King George III was unable to find a minister he could trust, until 1770, when he appointed Lord North as his chief minister. Lord North proved able to manage Parliament and willing to follow royal leadership, but George’s policy of coercion against the American colonists led to the outbreak of the American War for Independence. The subsequent loss of England’s most profitable colonies contributed to growing opposition to the king, but in 1784 his appointment as prime minister, William Pitt (the younger), succeeded in winning a majority in Parliament. After Pitt’s ascendance, the king retired from active participation in government, except for occasional interference in major issues such as Catholic Emancipation, which was defeated in 1801. In 1765, the king suffered a short nervous breakdown and in the winter of 1788-89 a more prolonged mental illness. By 1810, he was permanently insane. It has been suggested that he was a victim of the hereditary disease porphyria, a defect of the blood that can cause mental illness when not treated. He spent the rest of his life in the care of his devoted wife, Charlotte Sophia, whom he had married in 1761. Following his retirement from public life, his son, the Prince of Wales, was named regent and upon his father’s death in 1820 ascended to the throne as King George IV.
1834 – The banks of the Potomac River erupted in violence, as workers on the then-unfinished Chesapeake and Ohio Canal rioted after a planned strike was brutally extinguished. Never exactly a fast friend of indecision or conciliatory action, President Andrew Jackson swiftly called on Secretary of War Lewis Cass to send Federal troops in to quell the workers. While this was an eventful moment for the nation it marked the first, though hardly the last time Federal troops were deployed to settle a labor “dispute” it was just another roadblock in the troubled history of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Originally conceived as a transit and trade friendly route between the Midwest and Atlantic seaports, the canal was periodically delayed by fiscal woes, stiff competition from the Erie Canal, as well as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. When construction began in 1828, the canal was designed to reach Pittsburgh; by the time the project was abandoned in 1850, the waterway reached Cumberland. Flooding forced the close of the canal in 1924; it was bought by the U.S. government in 1938 and transformed into a national historic park in 1971.
1843 – William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States (1897-1901), was born in Niles, Ohio. McKinley was the last Civil War veteran to serve as President of the United States. He had served with the 23rd Regiment, Ohio Volunteers, eventually rising to the rank of brevet major. He saw action at South Mountain, Antietam, Winchester and Cedar Creek. For a time he served on Rutherford B. Hayes’ staff. McKinley was elected the 25th president in 1896. He led the country in the Spanish-American War. He died in Buffalo, New York, on September 14, 1901, after being shot by an anarchist assassin on September 6.
1850 – Henry Clay introduced in the Senate a compromise bill on slavery that included the admission of California into the Union as a free state.
1861 – The territory of Kansas is admitted into the Union as the 34th state, or the 28th state if the secession of eight Southern states over the previous six weeks is taken into account. Kansas, deeply divided over the issue of slavery, was granted statehood as a free state in a gesture of support for Kansas’ militant anti-slavery forces, which had been in armed conflict with pro-slavery groups since Kansas became a territory in 1854. Trouble in territorial Kansas began with the signing of the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act by President Franklin Pierce. The act stipulated that settlers in the newly created territories of Nebraska and Kansas would decide by popular vote whether their territory would be free or slave. In early 1855, Kansas’ first election proved a violent affair, as more than 5,000 so-called Border Ruffians invaded the territory from western Missouri and forced the election of a pro-slavery legislature. To prevent further bloodshed, Andrew H. Reeder, appointed territorial governor by President Pierce, reluctantly approved the election. A few months later, the Kansas Free State forces were formed, armed by supporters in the North and featuring the leadership of militant abolitionist John Brown. During the next four years, raids, skirmishes, and massacres continued in “Bleeding Kansas,” as it became popularly known. The territory’s admittance into the Union in January 1861 only increased tension, but just three and a half months later the irrepressible differences in Kansas were swallowed up by the full-scale outbreak of the American Civil War. During the Civil War, Kansas suffered the highest rate of fatal casualties of any Union state, largely because of its great internal divisions over the issue of slavery.
1861 – Secretaries of the Navy and War ordered that the Marines and troops on board U.S.S Brooklyn, Captain Walker, en route Pensacola, not be landed to reinforce Fort Pickens unless that work was taken under attack by the Confederates.
1863 – The Bear River Massacre, or the Battle of Bear River and the Massacre at Boa Ogoi, took place in present-day Idaho. The United States Army attacked Shoshone gathered at the confluence of the Bear River and Beaver Creek in what was then southeastern Washington Territory. The site is located near the present-day city of Preston in Franklin County, Idaho. Colonel Patrick Edward Connor led a detachment of California Volunteers as part of the Bear River Expedition against Shoshone Chief Bear Hunter.
1865 – William Quantrill and his Confederate raiders attack Danville, Kentucky. Quantrill is killed in the raid. William Clarke Quantrill came to Kansas as a young man in 1858. Two years later he acheived a measure of notoriety by engineering a scheme with four free-state men to liberate the slaves of a Missouri farmer; however, Quantrill warned the farmer before the raid occurred, and three of the Kansas men were killed in the ambush. Quantrill adapted well to the ruthless chaos that Civil War brought to the Southwest, and until 1864 was the most popular and powerful leader of the various bands of Border Ruffians that pillaged the area. While he and the men who followed him had more in common with the Confederate than the Union cause, they were by no means enlisted soldiers. They terrorized the Kansas countryside almost entirely for profit: to rob the citizens and loot the towns. Inaddition, the innumerable atrocities committed on both sides made the guerilla armies convenient vehicles to carry out personal vengeance.The climax of Quantrill’s guerilla career came on August 21, 1863, when he led a force of 450 raiders into Lawrence, Kansas, a stronghold of pro-Union support and the home of Senator James H. Lane, whose leading role in the struggle for free-soil in Kansas had made him a public enemy to pro-slavery forces in Missouri. Lane managed to escape, racing through a cornfield in his nightshirt, but Quantrill and his men killed 183 men and boys, dragging some from their homes to murder them in front of their families, and set the torch to much of the city. The Lawrence Massacre led to swift retribution, as Union troops forced the residents of four Missouri border counties onto the open prairie while Jayhawkers looted and burned everything they left behind. Quantrill and his raiders took part in the Confederate retaliation for this atrocity, but when Union forces drove the Confederates back, Quantrill fled to Texas. His guerrilla band broke up into several smaller units, including one headed by his vicious lieutenant, “Bloody Bill” Anderson, known for wearing a necklace of Yankee scalps into battle.
1877 – A highly partisan Electoral Commission, made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats, was established by Congress to settle the issue of Democrat Samuel Tilden for president against Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. Under the terms of the Tilden-Hayes Election Compromise, Hayes became president and the Republicans agreed to remove the last Federal troops from Southern territory, ending Reconstruction. On election night, 1776, it was clear that Tilden had won the popular vote, but it was also clear that votes in Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Oregon were fraudulent because of voter intimidation. Republicans knew that if the electoral votes from these four states were thrown out, Hayes would win. The country hovered near civil war as both Democrats and Republicans claimed victory. Illustrator Thomas Nast drew his cartoon, ”Tilden or Blood,” showing the Democrats threatening violence.
1885 – The Senate decides not to ratify the 1884 treaty which authorizes the building of a canal across Nicaragua. The canal issue is plagued with doubt and indecision. Americans are still reluctant to shoulder responsibilities outside the continental domain. The Federal Government is not yet a clearly define entity, people still being more closely identified with their states. Gradually a change is taking place and some people see far enough to make preparations for predictable circumstances. Secretary of the Navy Whitney has brought his prestige to bear on building a steel navy. Commodore Stephen Bleeker has founded a navy training school and Secretary of State Blaine is slowly turning the nation’s attention to events in Hawaii, the Philippines, Korea, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Haiti.
1886 – 1st successful gasoline-driven car was patented by Karl Benz in Karlsruhe.
1918 – The Supreme Allied Council met at Versailles.
1914 – U.S. Marines land in Haiti to protect U.S. consulate
1919 – 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages. Its enforcement was authorized by the National Prohibition Enforcement Act, otherwise known as the Volstead Act on 28 October 1919. The Coast Guard had been tasked with the prevention of the maritime importation of illegal alcohol. This led to the largest increase in the size and responsibilities of the service to date.
1941 – Secret staff talks begin between British and American representatives. The talks will continue until March 27th. They produce conclusions code named ABC1 which state that Allied policy in the event of war with Germany and Japan should be to put the defeat of Germany first. The talks mark an important stage in the development of cooperation between the US and Britain. As well as their important decisions they accustom the staffs to working with each other.
1942 – US Task Force 18, under the command of Admiral Giffen, is attacked by Japanese aircraft off Rennel Island while providing covering escort to a supply operation to Guadalcanal. The heavy cruiser Chicago is sunk.
1942 – Britain and the USSR secure an agreement with Iran that offers the Iran protection while creating a “Persian corridor” for the Allies-a supply route from the West to Russia. Early in the war, Iran collaborated with Germany by exporting grain to the Axis power in exchange for technicians. But the Allies viewed Iran as a valuable source of oil and conveniently situated as a route for shipping Western war material east to the USSR. On August 25, 1941, both Allied powers invaded Iran (which Prime Minister Winston Churchill preferred to call “Persia,” so there would be no confusion between “Iran” and “Iraq”), the Soviets from the north and the Brits from the south. In four days, the Allies effectively controlled Iran. On September 16, the ruling shah abdicated, and his 23-year-old son, Muhammad, assumed power and pushed through the Iranian parliament the Treaty of Alliance, which allowed the Allies freedom to move supplies through the country and gave them whatever else they needed from Iran to win the war. The new shah also vowed “not to adopt in his relations with foreign countries an attitude which is inconsistent with the alliance.” In exchange, Iran was promised wartime protection from Axis invasion-and a guarantee that the Allies would leave Iranian soil within six months of the close of the war. The alliance started off shakily: the Soviets bought up most of Iran’s grain harvest, which caused a bread shortage and riots in the streets. Allied troops put the rebellion down, and the United States shipped in grain to compensate for the losses. The Soviet Union then attempted to agitate for the overthrow of the shah by supporting the Tudeh (Farsi for “masses”) party, which the Soviets believed would be more generous in oil concessions. Tudeh forces did manage temporarily to take over northern Iran in December 1944. When the war ended, the Allies began leaving Iran as promised-except for the USSR. Complaints were made to the United Nations, and pressure was applied by the United States and Great Britain, as this was a violation of one of the terms of the Treaty of Alliance. The Soviets finally began pulling out of Iran in April 1946, but as they withdrew, they continued to foster more bloody rebellions between the shah’s government and the Tudeh; the Tudeh were decisively defeated in December 1946 when the shah declared martial law.
1943 – Beginning of the 2 day battle of Rennell Island after which U.S. transports reached Guadalcanal. By 23 January, US aerial reconnaissance had reported a large number of Japanese transports , freighters and destroyers at Rabaul, and Buin and carriers and battleships milling around Ontong Java, North of Guadalcanal. These were preparations for the final Japanese evacuation of Guadalcanal. Halsey, however, interpreted this activity as preparations for another major Japanese reinforcement effort. In an attempt to lure the Japanese into another naval battle Halsey sent up 4 fully loaded transports along with strong covering forces, from Efate and Numea, to reinforce the US garrison on Guadalcanal. Among the covering force were six US cruisers including the USS Chicago, the only heavy cruiser to survive the battle of Savo Island, 5 1/2 month earlier. In the twilight of Jan 29, at 1945 hours, 50 miles north of Rennell Island, Japanese torpedo laden Bettys from Munda successfully attacked the supporting group and the Chicago was struck and went dead in the water. Placed under tow she was heading slowly SE on the afternoon of the 30th when 9 Bettys once again caught up with her a few miles east of Rennell Island. At 1600 4 torpedoes struck home into Chicagos already damaged starboard side. She sank in 20 minutes. This Battle of Rennell Island was the last of seven naval battles in the Guadalcanal Campaign.
1944 – The fourth Missouri (BB-63), the last battleship completed by the United States, was laid down 6 January 1941 by New York Naval Shipyard; launched 29 January 1944; sponsored by Miss Margaret Truman, daughter of then Senator from Missouri Harry S Truman, later President; and commissioned 11 June 1944, Capt. William M. Callaghan in command.
1944 – At Anzio the Allied forces now number 69,000 troops with 508 guns and 237 tanks. General Lucas makes preparations for an offensive to break out of the beachhead. Meanwhile, the German cordon now consists of 8 divisions under 14th Army. There are German air strikes which result in 1 cruiser and 1 transport sunk. To the south, along the German-held Gustav Line, forces of the US 5th Army continue attacking. The 34th Division makes some progress in expanding the bridgehead over the Rapido River.
1944 – US Task Force 58 (Admiral Mitscher) bombs and shells Japanese targets on Roi, Namur, Maloelap and Wotje. American land-based aircraft bomb Jaluit and Mille.
1945 – The Coast Guard-manned attack cargo vessel USS Serpens exploded off Guadalcanal due to unknown causes. Only two men aboard survive. This was the single greatest Coast Guard loss of life in history.
1945 – The US 1st Army reports the capture of the town of Bullingen, east of St. Vith. Forces of the US 3rd Army cross the Oure River at two points, 8 miles south of St. Vith.
1945 – On Luzon, the US 11th Corps (General Hall) lands at San Antonio north of Subic Bay to join the American offensive. About 30,000 men go ashore on the first day of the landing. Their task is to advance across the neck of the Bataan Peninsula and clear it of Japanese resistance.
1952 – The U.S. Air Force’s 315th Air Division, Combat Cargo Command, airlifted its 1,000,000th passenger between Japan and Korea.
1953 – A 19th BG B-29 exploded over the target southwest of Sariwon. Enemy fighters apparently silhouetted the B-29 against a full moon and shot it down. This was the fourth B-29 loss since December but the last of the war. USMC Skynight aircraft escorting B-29s used new tactics to down an enemy night interceptor, the first enemy jet destroyed at night by a radar-equipped jet fighter.
1964 – Stanley Kubrick’s black comic masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb opens in theaters to both critical and popular acclaim. The movie’s popularity was evidence of changing attitudes toward atomic weapons and the concept of nuclear deterrence. The movie focused on the actions of a rogue U.S. officer who believes that communists are threatening the “precious bodily fluids” of Americans. Without authorization, he issues orders to U.S. bombers to launch atomic attacks against the Soviet Union. When it becomes evident that some of the bombers may actually drop their atomic payloads, American President Merkin Muffley frantically calls his Soviet counterpart. The Russian leader informs Muffley that an atomic attack on the Soviet Union will automatically unleash the terrible “doomsday machine,” which will snuff out all life on the planet. Muffley’s chief foreign policy advisor, Dr. Strangelove, reassures the president and chief officials that all is not lost: they can, he posits, survive even the doomsday machine by retreating to deep mineshafts. Close scrutiny of the Dr. Strangelove character indicated that he was probably a composite of three people: Henry Kissinger, a political scientist who had written about nuclear deterrence strategy; Edward Teller, a key scientist in the development of the hydrogen bomb; and Wernher von Braun, the German scientist who was a leading figure in missile technology. Little scrutiny was needed, however, to grasp Kubrick’s satirical attacks on the American and Russian policies of nuclear stockpiling and massive retaliation. The film’s jabs at some of the sacred core beliefs of America’s defense strategy struck a chord with the American people. Particularly after the frightening Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962–when nuclear annihilation seemed a very real possibility–the American public was increasingly willing to question the nation’s reliance on nuclear weapons.
1968 – A court convened in Vietnam for the murder of Cambodian, triple agent Inchin Lam, by Special Forces Captain John J. McCarthy Jr. Murder charges were later dropped due to exculpatory evidence and proven prosecutorial fraud on the court. A civil action for $1.3 billion is pending in US Federal District Court, Washington D.C. against the CIA and associated agencies.
1968 –In his annual budget message, President Lyndon B. Johnson asks for $26.3 billion to continue the war in Vietnam, and announces an increase in taxes. The war was becoming very expensive, both in terms of lives and national treasure. Johnson had been given a glowing report on progress in the war from Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. commander in South Vietnam. Westmoreland stated in a speech before the National Press Club that, “We have reached an important point when the end begins to come into view. I am absolutely certain that, whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing. The enemy’s hopes are bankrupt.” The day after Johnson’s budget speech, the communists launched a massive attack across the length and breadth of South Vietnam. This action, the Tet Offensive, proved to be a critical turning point for the United States in Vietnam. In the end, the offensive resulted in a crushing military defeat for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese, but the size and scope of the communist attacks caught the American and South Vietnamese allies by surprise. The heavy U.S. and South Vietnamese casualties incurred during the offensive, coupled with the disillusionment over the administration’s earlier overly optimistic reports of progress in the war, accelerated the growing disenchantment with the president’s conduct of the war. Johnson, frustrated with his inability to reach a solution in Vietnam, announced on March 31, 1968, that he would neither seek nor accept the nomination of his party for re-election.
1974 –The fighting continues in South Vietnam despite the cease-fire that was initiated on January 28, 1973, under the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords. This latest fighting was part of the ongoing battles that followed the brief lull of the cease-fire. The Peace Accords had left an estimated 145,000 North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam when the cease-fire went into effect. Renewed fighting broke out after the cease-fire as both sides jockeyed for control of territory throughout South Vietnam. Each side held that military operations were justified by the other side’s violations of the cease-fire, resulting in an almost endless chain of retaliations. During the period between the initiation of the cease-fire and the end of 1973, there were an average of 2,980 combat incidents per month in South Vietnam. Most of these were low-intensity harassing attacks designed to wear down the South Vietnamese forces, but the North Vietnamese intensified their efforts in the Central Highlands in September when they attacked government positions with tanks west of Pleiku. As a result of these post-cease-fire actions, approximately 25,000 South Vietnamese were killed in battle in 1973, while communist losses in South Vietnam were estimated at 45,000.
1979 – Deng Xiaoping, deputy premier of China, meets President Jimmy Carter, and together they sign historic new accords that reverse decades of U.S. opposition to the People’s Republic of China. Deng Xiaoping lived out a full and complete transformation of China. The son of a landowner, he joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1920 and participated in Mao Zedong’s Long March in 1934. In 1945, he was appointed to the Party Central Committee and, with the 1949 victory of the communists in the Chinese Civil War, became the regional party leader of southwestern China. Called to Beijing as deputy premier in 1952, he rose rapidly, became general secretary of the CCP in 1954, and a member of the ruling Political Bureau in 1955. A major policy maker, he advocated individualism and material incentives in China’s attempt to modernize its economy, which often brought him into conflict with Mao and his orthodox communist beliefs. With the launch of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, Deng was attacked as a capitalist and removed from high party and government posts. He disappeared from public view and worked in a tractor factory, but in 1973 was reinstated by Premier Zhou Enlai, who again made him deputy premier. When Zhou fell ill in 1975, Deng became the effective leader of China. In January 1976, Zhou died, and in the subsequent power struggle Deng was purged by the “Gang of Four”–strict Maoists who had come to power in the Cultural Revolution. In September, however, Mao Zedong died, and Deng was rehabilitated after the Gang of Four fell from power. He resumed his post as deputy premier, often overshadowing Premier Hua Guofeng. Deng sought to open China to foreign investment and create closer ties with the West. In January 1979, he signed accords with President Jimmy Carter, and later that year the United States granted full diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China. In 1981, Deng strengthened his position by replacing Hua Guofeng with his protýgý, Hu Yaobang, and together the men instituted widespread economic reforms in China. The reforms were based on capitalist models, such as the decentralization of various industries, material incentives as the reward for economic success, and the creation of a skilled and well-educated financial elite. As chief adviser to a series of successors, he continued to be the main policy maker in China during the 1980s. Under Deng, China’s economy rapidly grew, and citizens enjoyed expanded personal, economic, and cultural freedoms. Political freedoms were still greatly restricted, however, and China continued as an authoritative one-party state. In 1989, Deng hesitantly supported the government crackdown on the democratic demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Later that year, he resigned his last party post but continued to be an influential adviser to the Chinese government until his death in 1997.
1991 – A few hours after darkness fell on Jan. 29, a column of several dozen Iraqi tanks approached the abandoned Saudi town of Khafji. With all turrets pointed to the rear in the international military sign of surrender, the small number of Saudi forces defending the town permitted the enemy force to draw close, in anticipation of their surrender. As the tanks approached, however, the Iraqis turned their turrets toward the defenders and opened fire. This surprise attack proved to be the spearhead of an invasion of Khafji and in a short time the Iraqis drove out the joint force defending the town, occupied it, and began the formation of a defensive posture in anticipation of a counterattack. This force was estimated at approximately 40 tanks and 500 ground troops. During this time, in addition to casualties inflicted on the retrating forces, two soldiers from a U.S. transportation battalion – one a female – were reported missing and believed captured and two six-man Marine recon teams were stranded behind enemy lines. These Marines took up covert positons on rooftops, and would continue to relay back vital information on Iraqi troop movements throughout the battle. At the time, however, the Marines were stranded, surrounded, and in imminent danger. Realizing the scope of the situation, the coalition next had to determine the intent of the Iraqi probes, contain the offensive forces, and regain control over Khafji. For the US led coalition ground forces, the Iraqi attack came at an awkward moment. The Army component was in the midst of its three-week redeployment from the coastal area to attack positions more than 200 miles west. Any disruption to the 24-hour-a-day caravan might upset the timetable for the upcoming attack. Containing the offensive and pushing the Iraqis out of Saudi territory was vital. As the battle began, theater commander Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf told reporters, “The mere fact that they launched these attacks indicates they still have a lot of fight left in them.” JSTARS reports of Iraqi movement on the border and behind the lines flowed into the Tactical Air Control Center that night at about 10 p.m. local time. Brig. Gen. Buster Glosson received the first JSTARS reports and conferred with Horner. The JFACC ordered the single JSTARS aircraft flying that night to swing back to the KTO and concentrate its arc of coverage over the border area near Khafji. Later that night–at 2 a.m. on Jan. 30–the JSTARS sensors began to detect more movement as the 5th Mechanized entered Khafji and elements of the 3d Armored advancedthrough the adjacent Al Wafra forest. To the west, the Iraqi 1st Mechanized Division probed across the border. Unbeknownst to Saddam, Schwarzkopf had decided not to play into his hands by launching a ground counterattack. “Schwarzkopf told us he didn’t want to put any other forces over there,” recalled retired USAF Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Olsen, who at the time was serving as CENTAF deputy commander. Schwarzkopf instructed his commanders to use airpower as the key element, along with Marine, Saudi, and other coalition ground forces, to stop the attack. To increase the margin of safety, the Marines embarked on a phased redeployment in their sector to put a buffer of about 20 kilometers of territory between coalition forces and the Iraqis. As long as airpower could reach deep to stop the offensive, the coalition ground forces in the area would not have to be reinforced, and Schwarzkopf would not have to reposition the redeploying Army forces. At the Air Operations Center, the first task was to direct sorties already scheduled on the night’s Air Tasking Order to strike moving Iraqi forces picked up by the JSTARS sweep. Air attacks were funneled into the KTO from different altitudes and directions using a grid of designated “kill boxes” as a control measure. Each box measured 30 kilometers by 30 kilometers and was subdivided into four quadrants. Planners pushed a four-ship flight through each kill box every seven to eight minutes in daytime and every 15 minutes at night. In the designated area of the box, a flight lead was free to attack any targets he could identify. Within the CINC’s guidance to the air component, air interdiction operated independently. Hundreds of air attacks on Iraqi forces in Kuwait were already scheduled and under way. For example, more than 100 Air Force A-10 sorties were concentrated on the Republican Guards Tawakalna Division far to the northwest of Khafji. Many of the other sorties listed on the Air Tasking Order were already assigned to areas where the three divisions were gathered for the offensive. With airpower already flowing through the kill boxes, air controllers quickly diverted sorties to the Marine forward air controllers or sent them ahead to interdict the Iraqi forces attempting to reach coalition lines. Pilots found the Iraqi armored vehicles were easier to identify and target once they were on the move. Near Al Wafra, an A-10 pilot described the sight of a column of vehicles as “like something from A-10 school.” A-6s joined in, using Rockeye air-to-ground weapons. A-10 pilot Capt. Rob Givens later recalled with some amazement: “I, myself–one captain in one airplane–was engaging up to a battalion size of armor on the ground” and “keeping these guys pinned for a little bit.” AFSOC AC-130 gunships waiting on alert were scrambled after a hasty briefing. As lead elements of the 5th Mechanized with some support from the 3d Armored reached Khafji, one Air Force gunship caught the column and stopped many of them from entering the town. Anti-aircraft fire and occasional missile launches were reported by the aircrews. However, the rapid attacks to squelch the initiative of the maneuver force also hit the Iraqis before they could bring up and assemble most of their heavier air defense guns and shoulder-fired SAMs, an important edge for the coalition that contributed to increased aircraft survivability and effectiveness.
1992 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin unveiled an ambitious plan to cut nuclear weapons spending and said his republic’s weapons would no longer be aimed at any U.S. targets.
1993 – President Clinton announced that he was ordering the draft of a formal directive by July 15 to end the longstanding ban on homosexuals in the U.S. military.
1996 – A Navy F-14 fighter jet crashed in Nashville, Tennessee, demolishing three houses and killing five people.
1998 – In Birmingham, Ala., the New Woman, All Woman Health Care [abortion] Clinic was bombed. Robert Sanderson (35), a moonlighting police officer, was killed and Emily Lyons, a nurse, was critically injured. A note was later received claiming the “Army of God” was responsible. Eric Robert Rudolph (31) of North Carolina was later sought as a suspect. He was arrested May 31,2003.
1998 – The US, Russia and 13 other nations of the European Space Agency agreed to cooperate on building an int’l. space station.
1999 – The US and major European allies set Feb 19 as a deadline for Serbia to accept a peace plan in Kosovo or face NATO bombing.
1999 – The UN Security Council agreed to establish panels to assess Iraqi disarmament and adherence to other UN resolutions.
2001 – Serb thrown hand grenades hit an ethnic Albanian home in Kosovo. 1 person was killed, 2 injured and NATO peacekeepers broke up an ensuing riot.
2003 – Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, signed an open letter calling on the peace camp, implicitly Germany, France and Russia, to rally to the U.S. standard against Iraq.
2003 – Iraq responded to chief inspector Hans Blix’s tough assessment of its disarmament, accusing him of misrepresenting its record of compliance, offering some new information and pledging continued cooperation.
2004 – The US freed 3 juvenile Afghan detainees (13-15) from Guantanamo, Cuba.
2014 – National Guard troops are deployed to reach students stranded overnight on buses after ice and snow cause widespread traffic chaos in Atlanta, Georgia.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
FUNK, LEONARD A., JR.
Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 508th Parachute Infantry, 82d Airborne Division. Place and date: Holzheim, Belgium, 29 January 1945. Entered service at: Wilkinsburg, Pa. Birth: Braddock Township, Pa. G.O. No.: 75, 5 September 1945. Citation: He distinguished himself by gallant, intrepid actions against the enemy. After advancing 15 miles in a driving snowstorm, the American force prepared to attack through waist-deep drifts. The company executive officer became a casualty, and 1st Sgt. Funk immediately assumed his duties, forming headquarters soldiers into a combat unit for an assault in the face of direct artillery shelling and harassing fire from the right flank. Under his skillful and courageous leadership, this miscellaneous group and the 3d Platoon attacked 15 houses, cleared them, and took 30 prisoners without suffering a casualty. The fierce drive of Company C quickly overran Holzheim, netting some 80 prisoners, who were placed under a 4-man guard, all that could be spared, while the rest of the understrength unit went about mopping up isolated points of resistance. An enemy patrol, by means of a ruse, succeeded in capturing the guards and freeing the prisoners, and had begun preparations to attack Company C from the rear when 1st Sgt. Funk walked around the building and into their midst. He was ordered to surrender by a German officer who pushed a machine pistol into his stomach. Although overwhelmingly outnumbered and facing almost certain death, 1st Sgt. Funk, pretending to comply with the order, began slowly to unsling his submachine gun from his shoulder and then, with lightning motion, brought the muzzle into line and riddled the German officer. He turned upon the other Germans, firing and shouting to the other Americans to seize the enemy’s weapons. In the ensuing fight 21 Germans were killed, many wounded, and the remainder captured. 1st Sgt. Funk’s bold action and heroic disregard for his own safety were directly responsible for the recapture of a vastly superior enemy force, which, if allowed to remain free, could have taken the widespread units of Company C by surprise and endangered the entire attack plan.